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Battle of top teams to play at Wesleyan Classic

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Dakota Wesleyan University hosts its basketball classic today with many ranked teams matching up in tough games.

The top-ranked Mitchell girls' basketball team will tip off at 2 p.m. in the only girls' game of the day. The 16-1 Kernels will take on Brookings (2-14).

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The final game of the night, at 8 p.m., will be a battle of top-ranked teams. Class B's top squad, White River (14-0), plays Class A's No. 1 team, Dell Rapids (13-3).

White River head coach Eldon Marshall believes his team is ready for the challenge.

"Dell Rapids is No. 1 for a reason," Marshall said. "I'm looking forward to seeing how we respond to any situation that doesn't go in our favor. I'm also hoping to see us have some success."

Dell Rapids will be playing at the Corn Palace for the second time this season. It defeated Viborg/Hurley at the Hanson Classic earlier this year.

The Daily Republic was unable to reach Dell Rapids coach Mark Shriver for this story.

"It's always great to play in the Corn Palace," Marshall said. "The kids really feel like there's something at stake."

The event begins at 11 a.m. with Wagner (8-8) taking on Tri- Valley (10-6).

Wagner head coach Josh Davies is looking forward to giving his team a chance to play in a bigger arena.

"It's always good to get a different atmosphere," Davies said. "It makes it so when they go to play in the postseason, they feel like they've been there before. That's always good for the kids."

Wagner has a quick turnaround with the early game after losing a road game in Chamberlain on Friday night.

"It'll be tough on us," Davies said. "You've got to line up and play when you're scheduled to. No matter when you play, if you play well, you're going to give yourself a chance."

At 12:30 p.m., Mount Vernon (12-3) will face off against Aberdeen Roncalli (11-6).

"It's definitely going to be a test for us," Mount Vernon head coach Eric Denning said. "They're a good basketball team, and we'll have to play well."

Mount Vernon hopes that its familiarity with the Corn Palace be an edge on Aberdeen Roncalli.

"I think the more accustomed to a place the more comfortable you are shooting. I think our kids are more familiar with the background at the Palace," Denning said.

After the Mount Vernon game the Mitchell girls will take the floor. The Kernels have won 11 straight and are 8-0 at the Corn Palace this season.

After the Mitchell girls take on Brookings, the classic will go back to the boys for the remainder of the games. Class B's No. 2-ranked Viborg/Hurley (15-2) plays against Castlewood (9-4) at 3:30 p.m.

McCook Central Montrose (13-3) will try to prove that its No. 3 ranking in Class A is justified, as it plays McLaughlin (11-6).

McLaughlin has struggled as of late, losing three straight games, including losses on Thursday and Friday to Cheyenne-Eagle Butte and Winner.

Before the final matchup, which includes two top-ranked teams, there will be a battle for positioning in the Class B polls, as No. 4 Canistota takes on No. 5 Rosholt.

Canistota enters the game with a 14-2 record, while Rosholt comes in at 15-1.

For a look at the entire schedule of games, see the At the Palace section on Page A8.

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